19 April 2006

Unleash the hamster!

This news story is brilliant (I can't get it to work on Firefox, though). Someone's invented a computer game which allows you to track the movements of a hamster as it chases food - and to control that food as if it's your game character. The article explains it a lot better than I can.

I'm not sure why you actually need the computer - surely the same effect could be achieved with a somewhat cheaper (and technologically more stable) bit of string with a hamster snack on the end? Thinking about it, very few of the hamsters I've known (a story for another time, I'm sure) would be that arsed chasing food around.

This reminds me of a story about some friends of my dad. They went out and spent an inordinate amount of money on a hamster, cage, food, toys and gnawy things one day and went home excited to have a new cute little pet to play with. When they got home the cat - as they do - sat and watched haughtily as they filled the cage with sawdust, attached the bottle and wheel, and generally fussed about. When all that was set up they wanted to give the little fella - who'd been crammed in a little box to bring him home - the chance to stretch his legs and take those first steps into a bigger world. So they put him in one of those plastic balls to roll around the living room carpet.

Off he went. Bang - straight into the wall - the ball split open and they watched in horror as the cat went from nonchalantly watching to pouncing on the poor creature and eating it.

And that's how the friends of my dad owned a hamster for less than an hour. One day I'll tell you about the time my dad killed my pet rabbit.

Hamsters are fun, of course, to just watch stuffing things in their faces. An ex of mine used to find it hilarious - sadly far less so when I did it and got gravy everywhere. Still, the hamster had the advantage of being incredibly cute and furry - maybe that's where I was falling short.

At least I didn't poo on the kitchen table though.

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